Sunday, 22 December 2019

Forgotten workmen uncovered at The Redcliffe

Current builders unearth evidence of past craftsmen

Over the last few weeks we have been able to do initial works at The Redcliffe redecorating bedrooms and updating bathrooms, a revamp of the Reception, Bar, and Dining Room, together with reincorporating rooms at the top of building, which give a wonderful view to the North and the Moors.

It is not surprising that like archaeologists stripping layers of wallpaper has shown old patterns and colour schemes. And in several cases we have found places where in the 1890s, 1910s, and 1930s decorators have signed their names as a mark of what? Their handiwork? For others to find as a written time capsule? Well some hundred years or so later they are coming to light.

But not just signatures, several drawings have been found. And our favourite cartoon is reproduced here - as you can see it is a mustachioed man caught in profile. In this case he is on the edge of a fireplace looking to the wall, and today he might be in his 130th year?

Tuesday, 15 October 2019

The Derwent - Scale and grandeur of Scarborough

Drawing room and hidden doors show themselves

During the recent works on The Derwent we have removed much of the twentieth century alterations to the original building and in so doing have unearthed some fresh insights.

The scale of some of the rooms, once dividing walls have come down, reveals how large many of the original rooms in Scarborough’s townhouses really were. A significant number of Scarborough houses from the 1800s and Edwardian period have remarkable plasterwork in cornices, rails, and skirting boards, but these have frequently either been covered up by building work, lost, or disrupted by room divisions.

The Derwent, built in the 1850s as part of the exclusive Esplanade Gardens development, was an ornate building facing the private gardens, access to which meant negotiating with the Garden’s own private police force - it was in every sense a Victorian gated community. One in which the leases specifically refer to restraining your servants from picking flowers in the private gardens.

Much to our surprise our builders have found hidden doors on three floors, giving access to both adjacent buildings 14 and 16 Esplanade Gardens.

Maybe these were put in when the houses changed from being private houses and were for a time a three-bay hotel. It is hard to say, but we have all learned to respect the quality and sturdiness of the work done by the Victorian builders.